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Album Review: Stir It Up - Aotearoas Tribute to Bob Marley

24 Nov 2016 // A review by Kerry Kingi

Stir It Up - Aotearoa's Tribute to Bob Marley on Universal music New Zealand contains 15 songs by various NZ artists. I've got to say I was quite excited to listen / review this album because I knew it was going to be good. Very humbled to review this album because after hearing the whole album from start to finish, you can hear the hard work that all of the artists have put in to this. Every song is quality.

The compilation starts with Tiki Taane playing Get Up Stand Up with nice soothing reggae lyrics, guitars with delay and atmospheric sounds, hi-hats and breaks then when the Sub bass drops this Drum and bass remix gets your heart pumping at 100 miles an hour, Tiki has made this song his own, only the first track, what an awesome intro to this album! About halfway through the song Tiki brings in these really cool sounding samples like a wah wah synth of some kind, making it sound interesting, this is my favourite from the album, this track is addictive and has a timeless element. I want the 12" inch version of this!

Buffalo Soldier by the Tomorrow People sounds refreshing and unique with female vocals. It does sound quite similar to the original. The instruments sound neat and tidy and have been mixed very well. 

One love by Vince Harder and The HMG Choir - A very nice version of this song, Vince Harder's vocals are unique, sung well and work exceptionally well with the backing vocals of The HMG Choir. This song is magnificent and uplifting. It's great to hear a guitar lead break too. All the instruments sound full and strong and it has an interesting ending.

Could You Be Loved by Aaradhna starts with an interesting organ with dry keys and guitars and backing vocals. The main vocals come in and completely change the feel of this song. A chill out / soulful lounge version of this song with lots of reverb and atmosphere in the mix, would sound excellent live!

Waiting In Vain - Wow, game changer! TrinityRoots have taken this song to the next level. A completely unique version of this song with a twist. All instruments, vocals and sound effects all merge together and blend perfectly to create this magnificent soulful song. This is magic and a work of art. Impressive!

So Much Trouble In The World - House of Shem works very tight, all instruments and vocals gel together in a magnetic way. Quality vocals and the background synth sounds add another dimension making it sound intriguing. Sounds very reggae, House of Shem styles. The singer has his own sound. Loving the way the band finishes the song at the end, mainly the keys and guitars on the outro.

Is This Love by Thomas Oliver, this version reminds of Sam Smith, a nice version of this song. It would make a great track for the playlist at a wedding dinner as background music. The guitar strings sound nice and rich with chorus and reverb which blends well with his singing style.

I Shot The Sheriff by Laughton Kora starts with an impressive background sub bass synth which changes to a gritty bass sound with vocal synth before a riser and the song drops, another game changer! This song is transformed and sounds completely different, really loving the deep sub bass and synth samples in this song. With a timeless element, this is the third stand out track on the album so far.

Redemption Song by Bic Runga with simply a piano with reverb and Bic's amazing voice. She creates a brilliant version of this song.

Turn Your Lights Down Low by Drax Project, riveting version quite different from the original. The band works well and with a simple beat but the song sounds strong and uplifting.

Three Little Birds by Anika Moa sounds nice and soft with what sounds like a kids piano, and beautiful guitars. Anika's voice takes you on a journey to heaven and back on this version. A dreamy element with choir background singing, another standout track, impressive work.

Punky Reggae Party is instantly awesome and Katchafire brings this tune back to life and raises the bar. This would sound amazing live! a great dancing version of the song. Another one of the stronger tracks on the album.  Natural

Mystic by David Grace of Dread Beat and Blood, This sounds very well done, get your sway on! saxophones add that X factor, and the reggae strum of the guitars and bass blend well with the drums. Excellent vocals on this one.

Exodus by Unity Pacific is another great live track, good vibes with a fast beat. Sounds similar to the original, the guitars grab my attention the with overdrive and with a short lead break. No Woman No Cry by Hollie Smith - There's loads of soul on this version, soothing background vocals and a simple baseline holding the song together. An entrancing guitar sound adds flavour to rhythm and melody. Sensational singing from Hollie on this one, and the choir is impressive too. 

This entire album is of the highest calibre. Every artist on this compilation have all worked hard on each of their songs and it shows big time - re-creating a new fresh tribute to the legend reggae master Bob Marley! The album as a whole is easy listening and it sounds really good. It could easily stay on repeat in your car stereo for months, and I highly recommend this album for every Kiwi household especially for New Years and summer time!

 

Other Reviews By Kerry Kingi

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